7 Surefire Steps to Reduce Anxiety Now

Brian and I take deliberate, intentional personal time together - down time that gives us a chance to explore who we are, both as a couple and as individuals.

Anxiety is a major life factor for many people in the United States today.  When you consider the pressures of economic, social and political climates, it is not hard to understand that people all over the country are seeking lower cost, higher impact ways to decrease lifestyle stress.  Do you think that you’re a slave to anxiety?  Not necessarily so.  Changing your state can be as easy as the word “affirmations.”  Let me explain.

You are what you believe that you are…not that my conviction to look like Jennifer Aniston actually makes me in great shape or pretty.  But my conviction that a forty year old woman can maintain good physical health and beauty is motivated by my affirmation…I can have arms like Jen.  I can have a life that is less stress and more mojo.  I first must believe that I can.  Here are some realistic methods to change your state.

  1. Know who you are, and what you’re feeling.  Anxiety isn’t fueled by fear as much as indecision. If you are living a life that is contrary to your inner person, you will maintain a toxic inner environment. Don’t allow emotions to overwhelm you without asking first…what am I really feeling?  What is the root?  What is the feeling telling me about myself, life or circumstance?  Is there something to learn here?
  2. Avoid Chaos.  If your anxiety is lifestyle driven, sit down with a piece of paper and organize your priorities.  What are you doing now that could be delegated or removed to give you more room to breathe, or are you a frantic ball of kinetic energy that rarely accomplishes anything…but sounds good?  Are you on boards, committees or social clubs that have you going to meetings 24/7?  Think about downsizing your public portfolio for some alone time.
  3. Be honest.  In all things, try to give yourself clarity.  I recently had to face hard, unwelcome truths about a person that I love.  It was painful, but necessary.  Have you constructed a world where you are projecting your needs and desires onto a person or situation that isn’t going to support them?  Are you requiring to much of yourself or others?  Conversely, are you so anxious inside that you are frozen outside?
  4. Know what you believe. People who profess to have a faith system are more likely to find themselves coming to grips with unwanted situations.  Regardless of your chosen faith, one must realize that there is no way to control other people’s actions, feelings or outcomes…influence, yes, control, no.  Even influence puts you in the precarious position of manipulation.  Know what you believe and practice it with passion.  Luke warm faith is like chicken left out all day…it will make you sick if you keep it at the wrong temp.
  5. Think things through. Anxiety doesn’t just affect one person, but entire family systems.  Your decisions affect not just you…but your friends and the people who love you.  When you chose what you eat, how you exercise and how you live life, you are affirming your connection with your loved ones…or not.  Deep breathing exercises, stretching and fresh air can help you clear your mind until decision time gets it’s proper attention.  A good way to reduce anxiety is to reduce the clean up of an all out “blow-out.”
  6. It Can’t Rain all the Time. Using words like “never” create paradigms that most humans have problems with. Stressors associated with “never” in the sense of loss actually contribute to a heightened sense of anxiety.  Allow yourself to process information in pieces instead of all at one time. The feelings that you have can and will “lie” to you…rarely do feelings of loneliness, loss or grief last “forever.”  Examine your feelings, label them and appreciate them for their message.
  7. Affirmations.  Start and continue every day with positive affirmations about who and what you are.  Pick your top ten attributes, talents, dreams, goals…and vocalize them.  Out loud!  A classic encouragement technique: while working out, I have learned to chant “I am growing stronger, every day in every way.”  I may vary that with healthier, braver, smarter…whatever my focus is.  I plug into other motivational people by downloading the onto my IPod and hopping on the cross trainer.  Surround yourself with positive energy if you want a positive life.  While it won’t keep problems at bay, it will enhance your ability to deal with issues sans the meltdown.

You are the most important person in the control and mediation of anxiety in life.  How you chose to eat, exercise, play and engage are all important…but the real battle for anxiety begins with your own thoughts about life.

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